A great report was just released concerning a troubling system of institutionalized corruption in Louisiana. The report is the product of reporting by ProPublica in partnership with local reporters at The Advocate and is a must read. Here is a small excerpt from the report:
A 2010 court “decision effectively prevented the Board of Ethics from serving as a watchdog for legislative conflicts of interest — leaving it to lawmakers to penalize other lawmakers for such conflicts. If someone outside of the Legislature identifies a violation, it can be considered only if another member of the Legislature decides to take it up.”
“Dealing with entanglements is a tricky subject among state legislatures, many of them made up of part-time lawmakers who maintain full-time jobs. In Louisiana, the same rules apply to legislators voting on bills involving family members as do to their own interests — namely, lawmakers are allowed to vote on bills as long as they or relatives don’t benefit more than others in the same industry. In California, by contrast, a recusal would be triggered when a lawmaker, or immediate family member, might benefit from a bill affecting a business where they have at least a $2,000 investment.”
“In some cases, the conflict doesn’t present itself until after votes are cast.”
Read the full article at ProPublica.